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Timon of Athens

ACT II SCENE II The same. A hall in Timon’s house.
[Enter FLAVIUS, with many bills in his hand]
FLAVIUS No care, no stop! so senseless of expense,
That he will neither know how to maintain it,
Nor cease his flow of riot: takes no account
How things go from him, nor resumes no care
Of what is to continue: never mind 5
Was to be so unwise, to be so kind.
What shall be done? he will not hear, till feel:
I must be round with him, now he comes from hunting.
Fie, fie, fie, fie!
[Enter CAPHIS, and the Servants of Isidore and Varro]
CAPHIS Good even, Varro: what, 10
You come for money?
Varro’s Servant Is’t not your business too?
CAPHIS It is: and yours too, Isidore?
Isidore’s Servant It is so.
CAPHIS Would we were all discharged! 15
Varro’s Servant I fear it.
CAPHIS Here comes the lord.
[Enter TIMON, ALCIBIADES, and Lords, &c]
TIMON So soon as dinner’s done, we’ll forth again,
My Alcibiades. With me? what is your will?
CAPHIS My lord, here is a note of certain dues. 20
TIMON Dues! Whence are you?
CAPHIS Of Athens here, my lord.
TIMON Go to my steward.
CAPHIS Please it your lordship, he hath put me off
To the succession of new days this month: 25
My master is awaked by great occasion
To call upon his own, and humbly prays you
That with your other noble parts you’ll suit
In giving him his right.
TIMON Mine honest friend, 30
I prithee, but repair to me next morning.
CAPHIS Nay, good my lord,–
TIMON Contain thyself, good friend.
Varro’s Servant One Varro’s servant, my good lord,–
Isidore’s Servant From Isidore; 35
He humbly prays your speedy payment.
CAPHIS If you did know, my lord, my master’s wants–
Varro’s Servant ‘Twas due on forfeiture, my lord, six weeks And past.
Isidore’s Servant Your steward puts me off, my lord;
And I am sent expressly to your lordship. 40
TIMON Give me breath.
I do beseech you, good my lords, keep on;
I’ll wait upon you instantly.
[Exeunt ALCIBIADES and Lords]
Come hither: pray you,
How goes the world, that I am thus encounter’d 45
With clamourous demands of date-broke bonds,
And the detention of long-since-due debts,
Against my honour?
FLAVIUS Please you, gentlemen,
The time is unagreeable to this business: 50
Your importunacy cease till after dinner,
That I may make his lordship understand
Wherefore you are not paid.
TIMON Do so, my friends. See them well entertain’d.
FLAVIUS Pray, draw near. 55
[Enter APEMANTUS and Fool]
CAPHIS Stay, stay, here comes the fool with Apemantus:
let’s ha’ some sport with ’em.
Varro’s Servant Hang him, he’ll abuse us.
Isidore’s Servant A plague upon him, dog!
Varro’s Servant How dost, fool? 60
APEMANTUS Dost dialogue with thy shadow?
Varro’s Servant I speak not to thee.
APEMANTUS No,’tis to thyself.
[To the Fool]
Come away.
Isidore’s Servant There’s the fool hangs on your back already. 65
APEMANTUS No, thou stand’st single, thou’rt not on him yet.
CAPHIS Where’s the fool now?
APEMANTUS He last asked the question. Poor rogues, and
usurers’ men! bawds between gold and want!
All Servants What are we, Apemantus? 70
All Servants Why?
APEMANTUS That you ask me what you are, and do not know
yourselves. Speak to ’em, fool.
Fool How do you, gentlemen? 75
All Servants Gramercies, good fool: how does your mistress?
Fool She’s e’en setting on water to scald such chickens
as you are. Would we could see you at Corinth!
APEMANTUS Good! gramercy.
[Enter Page]
Fool Look you, here comes my mistress’ page. 80
Page [To the Fool] Why, how now, captain! what do you
in this wise company? How dost thou, Apemantus?
APEMANTUS Would I had a rod in my mouth, that I might answer
thee profitably.
Page Prithee, Apemantus, read me the superscription of 85
these letters: I know not which is which.
APEMANTUS Canst not read?
Page No.
APEMANTUS There will little learning die then, that day thou
art hanged. This is to Lord Timon; this to 90
Alcibiades. Go; thou wast born a bastard, and thou’t
die a bawd.
Page Thou wast whelped a dog, and thou shalt famish a
dog’s death. Answer not; I am gone.
APEMANTUS E’en so thou outrunnest grace. Fool, I will go with 95
you to Lord Timon’s.
Fool Will you leave me there?
APEMANTUS If Timon stay at home. You three serve three usurers?
All Servants Ay; would they served us!
APEMANTUS So would I,–as good a trick as ever hangman served thief. 100
Fool Are you three usurers’ men?
All Servants Ay, fool.
Fool I think no usurer but has a fool to his servant: my
mistress is one, and I am her fool. When men come
to borrow of your masters, they approach sadly, and 105
go away merry; but they enter my mistress’ house
merrily, and go away sadly: the reason of this?
Varro’s Servant I could render one.
APEMANTUS Do it then, that we may account thee a whoremaster
and a knave; which not-withstanding, thou shalt be 110
no less esteemed.
Varro’s Servant What is a whoremaster, fool?
Fool A fool in good clothes, and something like thee.
‘Tis a spirit: sometime’t appears like a lord;
sometime like a lawyer; sometime like a philosopher, 115
with two stones moe than’s artificial one: he is
very often like a knight; and, generally, in all
shapes that man goes up and down in from fourscore
to thirteen, this spirit walks in.
Varro’s Servant Thou art not altogether a fool. 120
Fool Nor thou altogether a wise man: as much foolery as
I have, so much wit thou lackest.
APEMANTUS That answer might have become Apemantus.
All Servants Aside, aside; here comes Lord Timon.
[Re-enter TIMON and FLAVIUS]
APEMANTUS Come with me, fool, come. 125
Fool I do not always follow lover, elder brother and
woman; sometime the philosopher.
[Exeunt APEMANTUS and Fool]
FLAVIUS Pray you, walk near: I’ll speak with you anon.
[Exeunt Servants]
TIMON You make me marvel: wherefore ere this time
Had you not fully laid my state before me, 130
That I might so have rated my expense,
As I had leave of means?
FLAVIUS You would not hear me,
At many leisures I proposed.
TIMON Go to: 135
Perchance some single vantages you took.
When my indisposition put you back:
And that unaptness made your minister,
Thus to excuse yourself.
FLAVIUS O my good lord, 140
At many times I brought in my accounts,
Laid them before you; you would throw them off,
And say, you found them in mine honesty.
When, for some trifling present, you have bid me
Return so much, I have shook my head and wept; 145
Yea, ‘gainst the authority of manners, pray’d you
To hold your hand more close: I did endure
Not seldom, nor no slight cheques, when I have
Prompted you in the ebb of your estate
And your great flow of debts. My loved lord, 150
Though you hear now, too late–yet now’s a time–
The greatest of your having lacks a half
To pay your present debts.
TIMON Let all my land be sold.
FLAVIUS ‘Tis all engaged, some forfeited and gone; 155
And what remains will hardly stop the mouth
Of present dues: the future comes apace:
What shall defend the interim? and at length
How goes our reckoning?
TIMON To Lacedaemon did my land extend. 160
FLAVIUS O my good lord, the world is but a word:
Were it all yours to give it in a breath,
How quickly were it gone!
TIMON You tell me true.
FLAVIUS If you suspect my husbandry or falsehood, 165
Call me before the exactest auditors
And set me on the proof. So the gods bless me,
When all our offices have been oppress’d
With riotous feeders, when our vaults have wept
With drunken spilth of wine, when every room 170
Hath blazed with lights and bray’d with minstrelsy,
I have retired me to a wasteful cock,
And set mine eyes at flow.
TIMON Prithee, no more.
FLAVIUS Heavens, have I said, the bounty of this lord! 175
How many prodigal bits have slaves and peasants
This night englutted! Who is not Timon’s?
What heart, head, sword, force, means, but is
Lord Timon’s?
Great Timon, noble, worthy, royal Timon! 180
Ah, when the means are gone that buy this praise,
The breath is gone whereof this praise is made:
Feast-won, fast-lost; one cloud of winter showers,
These flies are couch’d.
TIMON Come, sermon me no further: 185
No villanous bounty yet hath pass’d my heart;
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given.
Why dost thou weep? Canst thou the conscience lack,
To think I shall lack friends? Secure thy heart;
If I would broach the vessels of my love, 190
And try the argument of hearts by borrowing,
Men and men’s fortunes could I frankly use
As I can bid thee speak.
FLAVIUS Assurance bless your thoughts!
TIMON And, in some sort, these wants of mine are crown’d, 195
That I account them blessings; for by these
Shall I try friends: you shall perceive how you
Mistake my fortunes; I am wealthy in my friends.
Within there! Flaminius! Servilius!
[Enter FLAMINIUS, SERVILIUS, and other Servants]
Servants My lord? my lord? 200
TIMON I will dispatch you severally; you to Lord Lucius;
to Lord Lucullus you: I hunted with his honour
to-day: you, to Sempronius: commend me to their
loves, and, I am proud, say, that my occasions have
found time to use ’em toward a supply of money: let 205
the request be fifty talents.
FLAMINIUS As you have said, my lord.
FLAVIUS [Aside] Lord Lucius and Lucullus? hum!
TIMON Go you, sir, to the senators–
Of whom, even to the state’s best health, I have 210
Deserved this hearing–bid ’em send o’ the instant
A thousand talents to me.
FLAVIUS I have been bold–
For that I knew it the most general way–
To them to use your signet and your name; 215
But they do shake their heads, and I am here
No richer in return.
TIMON Is’t true? can’t be?
FLAVIUS They answer, in a joint and corporate voice,
That now they are at fall, want treasure, cannot 220
Do what they would; are sorry–you are honourable,–
But yet they could have wish’d–they know not–
Something hath been amiss–a noble nature
May catch a wrench–would all were well–’tis pity;–
And so, intending other serious matters, 225
After distasteful looks and these hard fractions,
With certain half-caps and cold-moving nods
They froze me into silence.
TIMON You gods, reward them!
Prithee, man, look cheerly. These old fellows 230
Have their ingratitude in them hereditary:
Their blood is caked, ’tis cold, it seldom flows;
‘Tis lack of kindly warmth they are not kind;
And nature, as it grows again toward earth,
Is fashion’d for the journey, dull and heavy. 235
[To a Servant]
Go to Ventidius.
Prithee, be not sad,
Thou art true and honest; ingeniously I speak.
No blame belongs to thee.
[To Servant]
Ventidius lately 240
Buried his father; by whose death he’s stepp’d
Into a great estate: when he was poor,
Imprison’d and in scarcity of friends,
I clear’d him with five talents: greet him from me;
Bid him suppose some good necessity 245
Touches his friend, which craves to be remember’d
With those five talents.
[Exit Servant]
That had, give’t these fellows
To whom ’tis instant due. Ne’er speak, or think,
That Timon’s fortunes ‘mong his friends can sink. 250
FLAVIUS I would I could not think it: that thought is
bounty’s foe;
Being free itself, it thinks all others so.

Timon of Athens, Act 3, Scene 1